UBL Inject UGX3.7bn to enhance Capacity of bars to adhere to Covid-19 Safety


Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has announced a partnership with the Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) under the Raising the Bar program which will support bars to re-open safely & rebuild customer confidence.

Under the programme, IDI which is a leader in health systems strengthening, will deliver health training and capacity building support tailored to the existing realities to the outlets as well as undertake a needs assessment and propose suitable training/ capacity building program to meet the needs identified.

IDI will also develop appropriate messaging content for regular public communications that UBL will disseminate to bars, recreational facilities, and similar establishments across the country.

Infectious Disease Institute is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen health systems in Africa, with a strong emphasis on infectious diseases; through research and capacity development.

Raising the Bar is adapted from the Diageo $100 million Raising the Bar Program that seeks to facilitate Diageo affiliates globally to support their local business partners and boost their capacity to reopen their businesses under the respective national guidelines. In Uganda, this program is being facilitated under the Uganda Breweries flagship Brand of Bell Lager which will inject a $1 million fund towards the logistical and physical requirements of the program.

This program has been developed in partnership with the Infectious Disease Institute, which among other things, will be the driver to provide awareness training for bars, recreational facilities and similar establishment personnel in the requisite knowledge, social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures that are important in the prevention of COVID-19 transmission in establishments that carry Uganda Breweries Products.

Speaking at the event to demonstrate the preparedness of the Brewery to support the bar reopening, UBL Managing Director Alvin Mbugua said that as a business, they applaud and support the government’s preparedness and response efforts against COVID-19 this far.

He added that the Raising the Bar initiative is the Brewery’s effort to work in tandem with the government to support efforts to raise the capacity of bars and enable them to adapt to the new practices to operate safely.

In March 2020, due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, the Government of Uganda announced the closure of bars among other businesses to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Even as some restrictions have been slowly lifted, the closure of bars and other recreational businesses remains in effect, a thing which has hurt economic activity resulting in loss of revenue and devastated livelihoods of many Ugandans.

“Bars are an integral part of Uganda’s socio-economic ecosystem. They provide employment both directly and indirectly, contribute significantly to real estate through rental incomes, contribute to the agricultural sector through sourcing of food supplies and raw materials and contribute to trade and several auxiliary services (security, transport etc.),” said Mr Mbugua.

He added that Covid-19 has adversely impacted the different players within the UBL value chain including farmers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and bartenders. Citing bars, for example, Mr Mbugua said that the continued closure of key retail outlets (bars) that stock and sell UBL’s products, an estimated number of 1,300,000 people formerly employed by this sector are now redundant.

In total, an estimated revenue loss of UGX 2.5 trillion across the value chain, at the current rate of business operations, had become unavoidable.

He also said the because of the reduced demand for UBL’s products, the company was buying fewer inputs from Ugandan farmers. For example, between March and May 2020, UBL sourced only 1,500 tonnes of barley from farmers out of an initial projection of 3,500 tonnes.

“We hope that this initiative shows our leadership as Uganda Breweries to the relevant authorities and demonstrate to Government that we are committed to working together in the fight against this pandemic even as we seek for the re-opening of bars,” he said.

He also said the because of the reduced demand for UBL’s products, the company was buying fewer inputs from Ugandan farmers. For example, between March and May 2020, UBL sourced only 1,500 tonnes of barley from farmers out of an initial projection of 3,500 tonnes.

“We hope that this initiative shows our leadership as Uganda Breweries to the relevant authorities and demonstrate to Government that we are committed to working together in the fight against this pandemic even as we seek for the re-opening of bars,” he said.